Every Sunday, we’ll share 21 Fantasy Rambles from our writers at DobberHockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week’s 'Daily Ramblings'.
Writers/Editors: Ian Gooding, Michael Clifford, Cam Robinson, and Dobber
1. Recent news on the Canadiens has Jesperi Kotkaniemi reporting for camp after spending time in Finland recovering from a March spleen injury. Kotkaniemi had been sent to the AHL at the end of January, so it’s not certain where he would fit into the Habs lineup for their play-in series against Pittsburgh. For what it’s worth, the 2018 third overall pick was a point-per-game player in the AHL (13 points in 13 games) before the injury. At the very least, it seems as though he’ll be available if Claude Julien wishes to use him.
After a rookie season in which he scored 34 points (11g-23a) in 79 games, Kotkaniemi fell victim to the sophomore slump with just eight points (6g-2a) in 36 games. Before declaring Kotkaniemi a bust or jumping to the conclusion that the Habs passed on better players in the draft (eg. Quinn Hughes), remember that Kotkaniemi went straight to the NHL after his draft season and will only turn 20 in a matter of days. Although someone like Nick Suzuki might be a young center with higher upside on the same roster, the Habs will still have very high hopes for a player that they drafted third overall just two summers ago. (july4)
2. Ryan Pulock has been the top-scoring Islanders defenseman the past two seasons, yet he did not lead the Islanders in power-play time among defensemen. Devon Toews (2:14 PPTOI) spent more time on the first-unit power play than Pulock (01:46 PPTOI), even though Pulock (8 PPP) outscored Toews (6 PPP) on the power play.
I wonder if this is a possible “handedness” issue. Pulock is a right-handed shot, while Toews is a left-handed shot. On the Islanders’ power-play videos I could find, the Isles seem to position either Mathew Barzal or Jordan Eberle at or near the point. Both Barzal and Eberle are right-handed shots, hence using the left-handed Toews as the one defenseman.
The Islanders’ power play could be due for a reconfiguration, though. It finished the season with a 17.3% success rate, which was 24th among 31 teams. The Islanders as a team also finished 31st (dead last) in overall power-play time and 30th with 29 power-play goals, so they’re also not receiving a ton of power-play opportunities to start with. So even a bump to the first unit may not help Pulock’s value a great deal. Barzal led the team with 12 power-play points, but he didn’t even finish in the top 100 in the league in that category. (july4)
3. I’m not sure about the Oilers’ ability to advance through the playoffs, but I’d have to think with the long layoff and unusual situation that it’s anyone’s guess which teams will be more successful. Maybe